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Mary Oliver

“maybe death
isn’t darkness, after all,
but so much light
wrapping itself around us–”
Mary Oliver 1935-2019

Those of you who have been following my ramblings these past years, know that Mary Oliver has been a favourite poet of mine for so long.

Many of her quotes grace the pages of my blog posts and may I say, that indeed she did add grace to the pages.

So rest in peace Mary after a life well lived. You will now never know the new readers who find your poems from whatever source, nor will you  ever know how much your words affected this elderly woman far away in New Zealand.

Read the New York Times obituary here.

And now, Goodbye Mary. May you rest in peace with your dearly beloved  Molly Malone Cook.

“When it’s over, I want to say: all my life
I was a bride married to amazement.
I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.

When it is over, I don’t want to wonder
if I have made of my life something particular, and real.
I don’t want to find myself sighing and frightened,
or full of argument.

I don’t want to end up simply having visited this world.”

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Words

“For last year’s words belong to last year’s language
And next year’s words await another voice.”
― T.S. Eliot, Four Quartets.

It’s been some time since I wrote on words, although any of you who have stuck with me know that I love words.

Every year, the Oxford Living Dictionary, among others, determines one word for the year. Their word for 2018 is Toxic.

We are told – “The adjective toxic is defined as ‘poisonous’ and first appeared in English in the mid-seventeenth century from the medieval Latin toxicus, meaning ‘poisoned’ or ‘imbued with poison’”. Read the whole article for more interesting facts about toxic and its uses.

Words

Some 1400 words were added to the dictionary in 2018. And so for your delectation and delight, here are some of them.;

  •  A nothingburger –  a person or thing of no importance, value, or substance, especially something which, contrary to expectations, turns out to be insignificant or unremarkable.
  • Glamping – It’s not just camping. It’s glamorous camping — and it usually means spending a night in the great outdoors with beds, electricity, and even indoor plumbing (so you’re not really outdoors at all)
  • Bingeable –Merriam-Webster defines this adjective as “having multiple episodes or parts that can be watched in rapid succession,”.
  • Goat – It stands for “greatest of all time,” and you’ll usually hear the acronym as a descriptor for LeBron James, Serena Williams, or Tom Brady.
  • Denonym – a proper noun used to denote the natives or inhabitants of a particular country, state, city, etc.
  • Mansplain — to explain something to a woman in a condescending way that assumes she has no knowledge about the topic.
  • Deglobalization” is the process of making something less global and more regional in nature, focus, impact, etc.; esp. the reversal or decline of globalization, or its effects.
  • Hangry is defined as bad-tempered or irritable as a result of hunger.

Did you see  Business Insider’s January 5 article on the word of the year? – “The American Dialect Society named “tender-age shelter” the 2018 “Word of the Year.”  Read more here 

But probably my favourite word for the year is again Trumpism – the philosophy and politics espoused by Donald Trump.

So another rambling post from this ageing mind in a sunny but very windy Wellington, NZ.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another Year Begins

“Don’t wait for a light to appear at the end of the tunnel,
stride down there and light the
bloody thing yourself.”
Sara Henderson – From Strength to Strength

Did you make resolutions on January 1?  I didn’t because I know that they won’t last even until the end of January. But I do like these resolutions from Bridget Jones Dairy.

“Resolution number one: Obviously will lose twenty pounds.
Number two:  Always put last night’s panties in the laundry basket.
Equally important will find a sensible boyfriend to go out with and not continue to form romantic attachments to any of the following:
alcoholics, workaholics, commitment phobic’s, peeping toms, megalomaniacs, emotional fuckwits or perverts. And especially will not fantasise about a particular person who embodies all these things”

I began to look back at the posts from January in past years. I started blogging in March 2011, so the first January was in 2012.  During that month I posted about reaching my first milestone of 100 followers. How excited I was on that day. I wrote about crop circles, Friday the thirteenth, the Madman who was actively engaged in compiling the Oxford English Dictionary. At that time I was posting a blog a day and so there are 31 posts in that January. All I need to know is probably my favourite post of that January.

By January 2013 I was no longer posting every day and so there are far fewer to choose from. In a meandering post, I took a trip down memory lane and wrote about growing up in the East End of London (again). And in that month I posed the question what would you do If Today Were Your Last?

January 2014 and I had just returned from my sojourn/adventure in Florence. That month saw only one post – The Kiwi Bach

January 2015  and I was enjoying life with my Late Love, The Architect and wrote about our peaceful corner of the world comparing it to the mayhem and confusion caused by terrorists in other parts of the world.

By January 2016, my life had changed again. Now The Architect was no longer alive and I was moving on alone. I like to think I was going from strength to strength following the path trod by Sara Henderson. Most of the month was taken up with my story about Sandy and the woman who claimed to be her daughter. Those posts were fun to write. Maybe, someday I’ll go back to them.

So to January 2017. By now I was used to living alone again and had completely recovered from my misadventure of the year before. How very glad I was to leave 2016 behind. I wrote about friendship and how much easier it is now to keep in touch through Skype, email and of course the blogosphere. And I compared myself to a vintage car. I too have to be maintained. I’m cleaned, polished and primped.  I have regular services from hairdressers, manicurists, dentists etc, So at my vast age I know I am vintage.

January 2018 found this aged mind taking off in a variety of directions. On the first, I looked back on the year that had just gone and looked ahead to the year about to start. I wrote about Talking into the Future with my friends Chris in Ontario and Joss in Cuenca and we marvelled at how lucky we are.

And that brings us to January 2019. Years have passed since I started this blogging journey/adventure. New friends have been made, some friends have died or moved on, Unfortunately, my Late Love was among those that died.  But what a great time I have had over these years. I have visited new places, have proved that you are never too old to dream another dream or set another goal and so I move into 2019 with a joyful, grateful heart. Best wishes to you all and thanks for being my friends.

Waterfall

“And as the water continues in its downhill rush over rocks
and the thoughts continue to tumble around in my brain
with no defined pattern or path,
they eventually find and settle into a safe place
and the void is suddenly filled
and my mind is active once again.”
Judith Baxter, survivor, blogger and friend

 

 

 

 

 

The most important thing. So far… #humor #life @ksbethkgmailcom

I wanted to share these thoughts with you.

Barb Taub

“what is the most important thing you’ve learned in your life so far?”

My blogging friend KSBETH asks this question on her wise and observant blog, I didn’t have my glasses on….

Well, I’m really old, so I’ve had time to learn important things from many people:

Sister Mary Second Grade:

  • I before E except after C (or when sounded like A as in neighbor and weigh).
  • If you put a spin on the side of the ball in kickball, your girls’ team will mop the playground with the boys’ team. It’s all down to exactly how you kick their balls.

For more humor, kids, pets, death, and other (mostly) funny stuff, please check out my book![click on image for previews, reviews, and buy links from Amazon] 

Sister Mary Third Grade:

  • Always wear nice underwear in case you get hit by a bus. [NOTE: Sister would NOT have…

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Rambling with an Octogenarian

 

“It is not true that people stop pursuing dreams because they grow old,
they grow old because they stop pursuing dreams.” 

― Gabriel García Márquez,  1927-2014 – Colombian novelist, short-story writer, screenwriter and journalist, 

Hazard warning

When I was young/younger, I warned my children and anyone who would listen, that I would not grow old gracefully. And  I have warned you in the past my blogging friends, how I shall be when I am old.

“I shall sit down on the pavement when I’m tired
And gobble up samples in shops and press alarm bells
And run my stick along the public railings
And make up for the sobriety of my youth.

And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves, And satin sandals, and say we’ve no money for butter.”

Jenny Joseph – Warning

I love the idea of women growing older but not old. We all undergo several steps in maturing from infancy. These include childhood, adolescence, young adulthood, middle age, and then if we are lucky, we reach my age!  Each stage presents distinct challenges and as we move through them hopefully, we are learning and maturing, But growing old…

But just because we are getting older – and think about it,  every day we are getting older – we don’t have to be old. When I think of old I imagine an old person sitting in a chair doing nothing active. I don’t want to be that person. I have said in the past that I want to hike into my old age. Well, perhaps hike is stretching things, but at least I am walking and occasionally dancing, into my old age.

I look at these fashion icons over the age of 60 (sweet young things) and think that’s who I want to be who when I grow old.

So I will just keep on as I have been and then maybe when I’m old I can wear purple, with a red hat which doesn’t go and doesn’t suit me.

But for now, as Shirley MacLaine says:

“I think of life itself now as a wonderful play
that I’ve written for myself and so my purpose is
to have the utmost fun playing my part.”

And Audrey Hepburn says:

“The beauty of a woman is not in a facial mole, but true beauty in a woman is reflected in her soul. It is the caring that she lovingly gives, the passion that she knows.”

And Judith Baxter says:

I will most definitely be outrageous, difficult and undignified,
but not until I am old.

Cross Old Woman

 

Random New Year Morning Thouights

Deep thoughts to start the New Year. This is well worth reading.

bridgesburning

Passing Thoughts

* Under ‘Some Things Never Change’, countless millions continue to start the NEW YEAR with some sort of resolution, whether it is couched under that title or another. THIS IS CALLED HOPE. For some a serious undertaking. For others, not so much.

* The world has learned that the American process is not functioning. Congress as oversight to a dangerous president doesn’t work and has failed the country and the world. THIS IS CALLED PAINFUL TRUTHS. As suspected by many for years, the greatness of the Red White and Blue is empty rhetoric.

* To win an election properly one must have a better candidate. When people demand change, even the devil can appear a saviour. For a time. To win an election one must perceive accurately what the NEED is. Right or wrong, the country demands NEW. New thinking. New approaches. Paradigm. Step outside. Old, established, proper…

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Wishing you all a very Happy New Year

“You are never too old to set another goal or
to dream a new dream.”
C S Lewis

 

New Year

New Year Celebrations, Wellington, NZ – Photo Courtesy Simon Woolf Photography,

New Year’s Day is coming to an end here in New Zealand where it is 9.30 pm, and I know that many of you are just starting the day. To my sisters, one in London, where it is 8.30, am another in Los Angeles where it is 12.30 am, my sisters of choice, one in Kitchener, Ontario and one in Virginia where it is 3.30 am. To you and to all my friends in the blogosphere, enjoy New Year’s Day when it reaches you.

Not only is it New Year’s Day but I have a particular celebration to make today. This is the day that the number of my followers reached 1,00. Whoever would have thought way back in 2011 when I first started blogging, that this number would ever be achieved.  Thank you to those who have followed me for a while and those new followers. I really appreciate your tenacity. Sometimes my blog posts have been difficult to write and I expect equally difficult to read. But your comments and likes are really appreciated.

And now as we move into yet another year, our thoughts go to those friends and family who are no longer here to share our joys and happiness, and yes, sometimes our tears in this new year. We remember them with love and thankfulness that for a time they were part of our lives.

And because for me, it is always time for a Mary Oliver quote, once again I share with you one of my favourites –

“Tell me, what is it you plan to do 
with your one wild and precious life?” 
― Mary Oliver.

If you have been following for any length of time, you will know that I love quotations. I particularly like this quote for New Year from another favourite,  Alfred Lord Tennyson

“Hope
Smiles from the threshold of the year to come, 
Whispering ‘it will be happier’…” 
― Alfred Lord Tennyson

 

 

 

Countdown to Christmas Day

Photo by rawpixel.com from Pexe

Of course, we are ahead of you, timewise and as sit here on a sunny Sunday I find there is only 1 day, 11 hours, 26 minutes and 2 seconds until Christmas Day – how long is it for you? Click to find out. – https://www.timeanddate.com/countdown/christmas..

Unfortunately, always at this time of the year, we read of disasters and road deaths which mean that Christmas 2018 will not be a time of celebration for many. If you are driving, please take extra care.

We have just heard from OneNews Now that “at least 20 dead and 165 injured after tsunami hits Indonesian beaches” Apparently, Mt Krakatoa erupted causing the tsunami. Not a Happy Christmas for folk in the way of the tsunami.

We learn that over 20,000 people in Sao Paolo are believed to be homeless and Chefs are serving Christmas food for some of them. So some people will have an unexpected Happy Christmas.

We hear that Gatwick Airport has reopened after days of shut down due to drones flying too close to the airport runways. So thousands of holidaymakers have had their plans for Christmas turned upside down. For many their time with family and friends has been cut short, but hopefully, they will all get to their destinations in time for Christmas Day.

And because here we celebrate with barbecues, swimming in pools and lazing on beaches, we are keen for the weather to be good on the day. We are told it looks good so far!

And in this time of commercialism having taken over Christmas, here are a couple of quotes from long ago from Henry Wadsworth Longfellow a long time favourite of mine

“I heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old, familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet
The words repeat
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!”
― Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

and another

“And in despair, I bowed my head;
“There is no peace on earth,” I said;
“For hate is strong,
And mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!”
Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
“God is not dead, nor doth he sleep!
The Wrong shall fail,
the Right prevail,
With peace on earth, good-will to men!”
― Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

 

 

 

Tis Christmas, Again!

I had a lovely surprise today. A parcel arrived bearing three books from one of my proofreading clients, Evan Graver. Thank you, Evan.

I haven’t reviewed any of them as I hadn’t read the final copies. I shall do soon and review each of them. But from what I read while proofreading, Ryan Weller is a protagonist well worth following.

Go over to Evan’s website – www.EvanGraver.com to sign up for his newsletter and receive a free Ryan Weller short story. And the books are of course, available on Amazon.

Receiving the parcel by mail, which is very unusual for me these days, took me back to when we lived in Scotland. The mail was delivered every day except Sunday and at this time of year, there were two deliveries each day. Parcels were delivered separately, again every day, Now, here in New Zealand, we get three deliveries a week. Well, of course, many moons ago when I was a young wife living in Scotland, there was no internet, no emails and everybody sent Christmas cards and presents. And when I came to live here in NZ, we had to post mail early in November to be assured that it would arrive on time. Now mail and the odd parcel take days instead of weeks.

Pohutakawa tree

Pohutakawa tree -Image via Wikipedia

And here in the southern hemisphere, it is, of course, summer. And once again, I am showing our NZ Christmas tree, the Pohutakawa. Isn’t it lovely? At this time of year, it is in full bloom. It lines the streets around our neighbourhood and the main thoroughfares in town. And while we enjoy summer days I know that many of you are ‘enjoying’ snow. But then, you have a real Christmas with all the trimmings. We enjoy barbecues and swims in the pool.

So on this day, three days before Christmas, may I wish you all a very happy Christmas, Hannukah, Kwanzaa, Winter Solstice or in whatever way you celebrate this time of the year. And may you have a healthy and joyful New Year.

 

RIP Charles Aznavour

Aznavour
Charles Aznavour1924-2018

It was with deep regret that today I learned of the death of Charles Aznavour. This is a singer who has travelled with me through life, always just singing the right song at the right time.

I remember the first time I actually saw him on stage. It was at The Royal Albert Hall in London in 1967. This was a special treat for me for my birthday. And then later in 1970, we saw him again at L’Olympia in Paris.

In 1970 he topped the singles chart in the UK for several weeks with his rendition of She, but I prefer the Frech version – click here to see and hear him sing in French.

But my favourite Aznavour song has always been and will remain Yesterday When I Was Young. I used his song as the basis for a post in March 2011 at the beginning of my blogging adventure. If you are interested, here’s the link.

What is not so well known is that Aznavour took an active part in his family’s efforts to hide Jews in Paris, risking their lives under the German occupation. In fact, he received a humanitarian award with his sister from Israel’s President Rivlin.  At the award ceremony, he reportedly said,  ‘We have so many things in common, the Jews and the Armenians, in misfortune, in happiness, in work, in music, in the arts and in the ease of learning different languages and becoming important people in the countries where they have been received.’

From its inception, Aznavour lent his name and his energy to the Aurora Humanitarian Initiative.  This organisation was launched on behalf of the survivors of the Armenian Genocide and in gratitude to their saviours.In his memory, the Aurora Humanitarian Initiative will launch a new annual scholarship as part of the Gratitude Scholarship Program.

So Rest In Peace Maestro. You will be greatly missed by many.